The Crockpot…

If anyone knows me they know I despise crackpots partially from the terrifying scent of hot pork that would literally over take our entire house as kids! (sorry mom you know I love you!) Between the hot pork and beef stew I never thought I could look at a crock pot without wanting to throw it out the window.

When my husband and I got married we didn’t even register for one because I was convinced I would never use this odd kitchen contraption.  Fast forward 5 years I finally have been convinced of their convince and endless cooking possibilities!  Thanks to my brother-in law who recently moved out of the country we inherited his crock pot and I have been using it ever since!IMG_2162I have found that I can make all the soups I normally make without having to watch my baby and the pot at the same time!  They are super easy and clean up is a breeze which I am sure most of you know but I am new to the crock pot community lol!

One of the first soups I tested out was a vegan lentil soup that turned out really delicious and was super easy!  The first step was to rinse and drain one bag of lentils and put them into the crock pot.IMG_2160 Next up was to figure out what kinds of veggies I wanted to go with them and used up some of what was left in the fridge, including mushrooms, carrots, celery, and half an onion.IMG_2165 I just placed them on top of the lentils and added some seasonings which consisted of black pepper, salt, and celery seasoning.  I also added in some chopped garlic.  Then I just covered the veggies with about 6-8 cups of veggie broth and cooked on low for about 6-8 hours.  IMG_2161 IMG_2166I started it in the morning and it was ready for dinner!  This soup turned out great and is perfect for the winter making a really filling and hearty soup without any meat!
IMG_2159xo Meg

Meal Prep Monday…

Now that it’s getting a little cooler out I am getting back into cooking and baking on a regular basis, yes we still ate over the summer 😉 but mostly just grilling.  I really do enjoy cooking just not when its 98 degrees out and have to turn on the oven!  So I decided to make up a couple batches of our staples to have for snacks and lunches for the next few days.

First on the agenda was to bake some healthy sweet treats to have for snacks or even for breakfast.  I took a few months of eating fish and dairy and haven’t been feeling that amazing and lacking energy so I am kicking off fall with motivation to get back into a vegan based diet.

IMG_0839 These banana bites are a perfect grab and go snack that my daughter loves as well!  I have the entire recipe listed here in a previous post, the only difference is that these chocolate chips pictured below are vegan.  My daughter was such a big helper and she decided she needed a few sprinkles on her half of the muffins 🙂

  • The ingredients are incredibly simple and contain no eggs or dairy and are about 40 calories per banana bite!
    IMG_0841Next on the list was to make a huge pot of veggie soup which is one of my favorite recipes that I came up with last fall by using farm fresh ingredients from our local farm box.  You can check out the original recipe here, but what I love the most is that you can alter the ingredients to whatever you happen to have on hand!  IMG_0766 This version is completely vegan and is super tasty approved by the entire family including my dad!  This particular version is fully of fresh veggies and protein that will keep you feeling full and nourished at the same time.  This is perfect for lunches or can be served alongside a main dish such as grilled chicken or steak if you are meat eater.  IMG_0757 First step is to gather up all the spices and chop your veggies so that when your pot is hot you can quickly start to add everything together without burning the onions and garlic! IMG_0772 Saute half a red onion in extra virgin olive oil until they become slightly translucent and then add in as much minced garlic as you like along with all of the spices (will be listed below) to release all of the flavors.  IMG_0775I love adding white beans into soup, not only are they delicious but they leave you feeling full and satisfied without adding any meat or pasta.  
    Along with chopping up all of your veggies you will want to thinly slice a head of collard greens and make sure to really rinse them to remove any sand or dirt that may have been left behind.
    Next into the pot go your harder veggies like butternut squash and zucchini, allow them to saute for a few minutes or until they start to get some color and soften just a little.
    IMG_0791Then add in a large can of diced tomatoesIMG_0792Followed by 8 cups of water and veggie base, or you could use a traditional vegetable broth I would recommend a low-sodium option.
    IMG_0793 After the liquid comes to a bubble add in all of the collard greens and let them soften until they turn a darker green.  Then add any remaining ingredients that don’t need to cook for too long, like the beans or sliced mushrooms.  IMG_0798

Ingredients Used:

1/2 T Minced Garlic

1t Celery Salt

1t Red Pepper Flakes (or to taste)

Salt & Ground Black Pepper

8 Cups of Veggie Broth

1 Large Can Diced Tomatoes

2 Cans of White Beans

1/2 Red Onion Chopped

1 Head of Collard Greens or other hearty green

1 Butternut Squash Cubed

1 Zucchini

xo Meg

Boost your Brown Rice…

Brown rice is a staple in our house because one everybody likes it and two it’s pretty versatile and quick to make!  I found this Royal Blend with Flax at our local BJ’s and it seriously is delicious, I am officially obsessed with it!  Now this does take longer than the average ten minutes to boil, but it is worth every extra minute because the taste is out of this world.  I make mine with a little bit of vegetable broth instead of all water and it adds so much flavor your wouldn’t even believe it!

IMG_1663 According to the package you take one cup of the rice blend with two cups of water and let boil for twenty minutes.  I find it to be still crunchy and bland tasting so I amped it up a little by adding 1tsp of vegetable base that you can find in the isle the chicken broth and added another half cup of water.  I also increased the cooking time until at least thirty-five minutes or until it’s the texture that you and your family prefer!  To this rice, water, and veggie paste I also add about a tablespoon of olive oil and then let it all simmer until all the liquid is absorbed and then simply fluff with a fork and serve!IMG_1141 To this rice you can also add in whatever veggies or meat you like and make it more of a stir-fry or you could just choose to use it as a side dish.  Either way it has tons of flavor and is very filling!IMG_1139 IMG_1137 IMG_1662 Pictured above I chose to serve it plain with sautéed spinach and grilled asparagus for me, and below for the hubs and my daughter with steamed broccoli and a grilled London-broil marinated in Italian dressing by Good Seasons.

IMG_1666I highly recommend checking out the grain aisle of your local grocery store and seeing what kinds of rice blends you can find, it’s good to switch it up every now and then so you don’t get bored with eating the same thing all the time!! If you have any faves leave a comment down below I would love to hear what you guys like!!

xo Meg

Foodie Faves…

I have been obsessing over some new products that I have recently found at our local grocery store!  So obviously I wanted to share with you guys!!  Just as a reference I am still trying to stick to a mostly vegan diet and limit the amount of processed foods that I eat because I have been feeling awesome!  I would say that 90% of the time the foods I eat are plant or grain based, but sometimes I do eat things that are packaged and do not have dairy listed as an ingredient, but states that it could have traces where it was produced.  If I really am craving it then I eat it, for example the homemade mac and cheese my mom made for Easter!  It was delicious and completely worth the treat, but I noticed a difference and haven’t had dairy since.

It is all about what makes you feel good and what works for your lifestyle!  I think no matter if you are vegan or not these are some great products to try out you might just like them!

First I want to start off with an easy snack or breakfast idea that is tasty but filling at the same time.  I use Ezekiel bread which is sold in the frozen bread isle and it is made from sprouted grains and contains no flour or dairy products.  All you have to do is store it in the freezer and toast it when you are ready to eat it, top with some raw almond butter and of course a banana and it’s the perfect treat!

Total Calories: 340- Two slices of bread, 1T almond butter, and one medium banana
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This is my all-time favorite almond butter and a little goes a long way!

IMG_0493 My husband actually brought these home from the grocery store yesterday for the babe but I tried a few and they are so good!  Quaker makes a whole bunch of other flavored rice cakes that are delicious like the chocolate and the cheddar you just have to make sure that you portion them out or before you know it the whole bag is gone!  They are a great sweet treat and at 110 calories for 13 rice cakes it makes a perfect snack!IMG_0494 IMG_0497I am in love with this almond milk and if you also drink it I hope that you can find it in your local stores to try it out!  I talked about the Almond Breeze in  previous post which I still love, but my grocery store is always out of it so I had to try something else one week and I ended up loving this one by Califa Farms.  It does have 50 calories per cup compared to the 30 of Almond Breeze but it makes my coffee taste delicious and almost a little creamier which I love!  We use this all the time in smoothies too and it works perfectly!
IMG_0498 If you are ever craving chocolate especially at night I am obsessed with these Dole Dipper they are only 100 calories for the pack and they are basically frozen banana slices covered in dark chocolate and they are so good!

IMG_0500This is my favorite to-to sauce if I am not making it homemade, I always like to have some on hand for a quick-lunch or dinner option.  It is perfect over spaghetti squash or organic pasta and sautéed veggies!  It has 80 for 1/2c but the flavor is so good that you don’t need any more than that on a serving of pasta or squash!


xo Meg

Go-to Salad…

Lately I have been on a major salad kick!  The great thing about salads is that you can basically add anything you want to fit your particular cravings.  I always seem to go through periods of eating a lot of the same thing and then switching to something different, before I was eating a vegan diet I was eating a lot of salads but then I stopped because I was having a hard time finding dressings without any dairy products.  Then I realized on of my families standby dressing mixes was dairy-free and could be made with lower fat as well.

To start with the salad I usually go with organic mixed baby greens and then top with whatever veggies I have on hand.  Pictured below I topped the greens with 1/4c of quinoa, cucumber, red onion, cherry tomatoes, and half an avocado.  Some other great toppings I use are chopped pecans, black beans, salsa, and even homemade guacamole!  If you eat meat you can use grilled chicken, ground turkey, anything you feel like!IMG_0070 IMG_0075 This is the salad dressing that we love using, you buy the seasoning packets and then you can make them fresh at home and just keep it in your refrigerator.  We use extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and water then you simply add the seasoning and shake it up!  It takes like two seconds and is super easy and has a really great flavor.  IMG_0076 So if you read the preparation instructions it shows a low-fat option and we usually use a little more than 1/4c of water and less oil and the dressing still taste delicious and has a lot of flavor.  IMG_0077 IMG_0080 You can make this dressing in really any container that you have in your kitchen we have even made it in a ziplock container before because we don’t have a specific salad dressing bottle but a mason jar would also be another great option.  We have a bunch of blender bottles so we just use one of those and its great because you can easily pour it right onto your salad. IMG_0078


Salads are a great way to increase the amount of veggies you are eating but they don’t have to be boring you can pretty much add whatever you want to switch up the texture and taste!  Just make sure to measure out your dressing so that you aren’t adding tons of extra calories to a really nutritious waist friendly meal!

xo Meg


Orange Muffins…

This is a pretty quick and easy recipe for orange muffins that have no dairy, eggs, or butter!  I was craving something light and bright and saw I had a huge bowl of oranges to use and decided to try to come up with a muffin of some sort.  They turned out pretty good although the texture is not like a regular muffin because they have no butter but they are still really good and hit that sweet note I was looking for!




2 Oranges

1T Flax Seed Meal + 3 T Water (Egg Substitute)

1/2c Unsweetened Apple Sauce

1/4c Truvia

1c Oat Flour

3/4c Oats

1t Baking Powder

1t Baking Soda

Topping: 2t Splenda Brown Sugar, Pinch of Cinnamon, 1T Chopped Pecans

*Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pour into muffin cups, bake for about 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees

IMG_0057 IMG_0049 IMG_0058 You can use this flax and water substitute in any baking dish to replace eggs!  All you have to do is take 1T of ground flax seeds in a small bowl and combine with 3T of water and let sit for a few minutes until it becomes a thick consistency. IMG_0059 IMG_0060 IMG_0061 IMG_0062 Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture onto the muffins before you put them into the oven for a little extra sweetness and crunch.IMG_0067The perfect sweet treat for a beautiful spring morning!

xo Meg

Coffee Date…

I seriously am obsessed with coffee I drink it everyday!  I have always loved the flavor and coffee ice-cream was my all time fave flavor!!  Now that I am eating a vegan diet I still enjoy my java but just dairy free!

You can still go to your fave coffee spot and order a great coffee but I always look for a dairy-free low-cal option.  At home I use my Keurig and make a medium blend with Truvia and Unsweetened Almond Breeze milk.  At Starbucks my go-to is an iced coffee with sugar-free vanilla syrup and a splash of soy milk.  When its cooler out I also love a skinny vanilla late with soy milk instead of fat-free milk.

I love trying new coffee spots especially the little ones that aren’t too well-known they usually have the best coffee and a fun unique atmosphere.  Washington had some of the best coffee spots but we have found a few here in NC and they are perfect to meet friends or loved ones to chat and catch up!  Definitely a go-to activity for my mom and I!


Classic… joking around with mom and having a hard time taking myself seriously!!IMG_5832 IMG_5743 IMG_5697Jacket |J.Crew|  Bag |Tory Burch|  Shoes |Anne Taylor|  Jeans |Gap| Sunnies |Gucci Similar| Watch |Guess| Earrings |House of Harlow|

xo Meg

Vegan Pancakes…

I have really been craving pancakes lately but I thought that it would be really difficult making them without using any dairy or eggs.  The old pancakes I used to make all of the time were a protein pancake and they were delicious, but trying to stick to a vegan diet means no more for me!  So I have played around with a couple different versions and so far my daughter and I really like this combination!



1/2c Oats

1/2c Oat Flour

1T Coconut Flour

2T Ground Flax seed

2T Wheat Germ

1c Unsweetened Almond Milk

1 Ripe Banana Mashed

1t Truvia

Cinnamon to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and then let your pan get super hot, use a little coconut oil and scoop out the pancakes and let them cook.  After they are done on both sides I topped them with a little honey for my daughter and she loved them!  You could add in mini chocolate chips or blueberries as well.  These are definitely more dense than a typical pancake but the flavor is really tasty!

IMG_7294 IMG_7295 IMG_7296 IMG_7299After I figured out a recipe that worked for me I made these a second time in a waffle maker and then froze the extras.  The next day I popped them into the toaster and they were perfect!!  You can also freeze the extra pancakes and they turn out really great when you want them later!

xo Meg

Sweet Treat…

Lately I have been craving a sweet treat and this snack is perfect and takes about five minutes to make!  This is really simple but came from making my low-fat apple desserts.  The longest part of making this snack is peeling and cutting up the apple!  My husband and daughter absolutely love this snack and are always asking me to make it for them!

We like to eat them cold because they are sweet and have a great crunch, but you could throw them in the microwave or glass bowl to heat them up on a cold winter day.



1-2 Apples Sliced

Sprinkle of Cinnamon

Sprinkle of Brown Sugar or Sugar Substitute

Calories: Under 100 depending on size of apple

IMG_5067 IMG_5059 IMG_5061 IMG_5057I love snacks like these because they are so simple but delicious and fresh.  There are so many different ways to use apples so we always have a big bag of them in the house.  We love them to eat plain or juice them with greens!

xo Meg

Snack Attack…

I love snacks salty are the best but I have to watch myself because they can get me into trouble.  There is nothing wrong with having a snack like pita chips, or tortilla chips, or even popcorn.  You just have to be aware of how much you are eating, something I never used to do.  A serving size of tortilla chips is about 10 chips and can be around 140 calories which isn’t too bad for a chip, but I would catch myself blindly eating handfuls of them and then you have to guess as to how much you are really eating.  So I started to literally count them out and that way I know how many calories I am eating.

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This is one of my favorite snacks, guacamole and reduced fat tortilla chips.  I usually just make my own guacamole because I usually always have avocados.  For some reason they are never ripe when I want half of one and then I have 3 ripe at once so this is a great way to use up ripe avocados and its delicious!


3 Ripe Avocados

1-2 Small Vine Ripe Tomatoes

1/2 Lemon Juiced

Garlic Powder, Salt, & Pepper to taste

*Mash it all up in a bowl to your desired consistency!IMG_4948 IMG_4949Another one of my go-to snacks that I eat several times a week is popcorn.  This is hands down my fave snack of all time.  If you get the urge to snack on something at night like I do then this is perfect because it can be very low in calories and you can flavor it however you like!  I always use an air popper to make mine from white corn so there is no added fat or oil.  After it’s done popping I use a misto olive oil sprayer to add a little extra virgin olive oil.  Then I top it with sea salt and a little cayenne pepper for a little kick!  My husband uses a non-fat butter spray and white cheddar flavoring powder that has like no calories.  There are so many different options and for about 7 cups of popcorn its under 150 calories.


Fruit is the fastest food and best snack you can have in my opinion.  If I am starving or I will be out all day I always make sure to grab an apple, banana, or grapes.  They aren’t that messy to eat in the car and can be very filling.  A medium apple, cup of grapes, and banana are all around 100 calories and make a perfect snack on the go!

Happy Snacking!

xo Meg